Peter & Jeremy ‘Go to Pieces’

British Invasion vets relive ’60s pop hits

Music Asher5 1 18
Photo credit: Courtesy Full House Promotions
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER: Peter Asher (left) and Jeremy Clyde bring 100 years of songs and stories to the stage.

Pop music fans of a certain age will remember the duo Chad & Jeremy. They scored their first hit with “A World Without Love,” a song written by Paul McCartney. Right? No, wait: It was Peter and Gordon who had a 1964 U.S. Top Ten hit, and it was called “A Summer Song.” Right?

Wrong, on both counts, but that confusion dogged both British pop duos throughout their heydays.

Both groups enjoyed fame; Peter and Gordon (pals of the Beatles) scored quite a few hits at home and in the U.S. (including McCartney’s “A World Without Love”), while Chad & Jeremy gained traction mainly in North America on the strength of their chart-topping “A Summer Song.” “People would congratulate Peter and Gordon for being on ‘The Patty Duke Show,’ and congratulate Chad & Jeremy for being on ‘Ed Sullivan,’” Peter Asher says with a warm chuckle. “It was actually the other way around!”

Gordon Waller passed away in 2009. Nowadays, Chad Stuart works mostly behind the scenes in the music business, and recently contributed to the soundtrack for Michael Price and comedian Bill Burr’s animated web series “F Is for Family.”

Jeremy Clyde has continued his acting, songwriting, and performing career, and Peter Asher — nearly as well known for his production work with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and dozens more — remains active onstage. These days, Asher and Clyde have forged an alliance, and are on the road together playing songs from their respective musical careers.

Aware that teaming up might only further confuse fans, Asher and Clyde make the most of the situation. Their live show is a highly engaging mixture of witty banter, rich storytelling, and tuneful pop music.

The two London duos were certainly aware of each other during their hitmaking years; in fact, they were good friends. Chad & Jeremy helped give Peter and Gordon one of their first big breaks.

Clyde recalls that in the early ’60s he and Chad Stuart were nearing the end of an extended engagement at a London hotspot. The owner was looking for an act that could take over the lunchtime gig. “There's my friend Peter Asher and his mate Gordon Waller,” Clyde said. “They're over at the Pickwick Club; I'll ask them.”

They got the job. Within a year’s time, both groups were on the charts: In 1963, Chad & Jeremy scored a hit with “Yesterday’s Gone.” By 1964, Peter and Gordon’s “A World Without Love” earned a No. 1 slot on the Billboard Hot 100. “Within the year we were in the charts — both of us — and nobody could work out which duo was which,” Clyde says.

Onstage together, Peter & Jeremy unravel the confusion in the up-close-and-personal live show filled with stories about each other’s careers. Asher has toured behind his own acclaimed song and stories show, but collaborating with his old friend means “twice the stories and twice the hits.”

Asher pauses, taking on a mock-serious tone as he says, “Someone rather uncharitably pointed out that between us, there’s well over 100 years of stories, which is an appalling thought!”

The show features Peter & Jeremy harmonizing and taking turns singing lead on Peter and Gordon hits such as “A World Without Love,” “I Go to Pieces,” and “Lady Godiva,” as well as Chad & Jeremy singles “Yesterday’s Gone,” “A Summer Song,” and “Before and After.”

A century’s worth of combined experience yields some wisdom. When asked to cite the best advice he ever received as a performer, Peter Asher chuckles while quoting his late father: “Don’t leave your wallet in the dressing room.”

Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde play City Winery on Mon., Jan 28. $22-$28. 8 p.m. 650 North Ave. N.E. 404-946-3791. www.citywinery.com/atlanta.

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